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Category: Issue 1-2 2020

The poisonous apple

Access to information is a fundamental human right and it has helped build the sovereignty of nations. In the years to come, the concept of “information sovereignty”, advocated by Moscow or Beijing, may turn the tide and damage democratic empowerment. Central and Eastern Europeans should care for their own information sovereignty, but in the first place we should get it right.

In autumn 2018 Poland was celebrating its 100 years of independence. On that occasion the European Solidarity Centre and private television station, TVN24, organised a televised discussion with historians who reflected on the significance of reinstating sovereignty. Timothy Snyder, the American historian and author of Bloodlands, spoke at large about the many dimensions of the concept, and invoked the notion “information sovereignty” – a collective effort to establish free media as well as developing countermeasures to push back against aggressive disinformation campaigns from Bolshevik Russia. Information warfare was as present and real a danger back then as it is today; except that wireless meant mostly long wave radio broadcast.

January 27, 2020 - Wojciech Przybylski

The role of a journalist in the age of disinformation

Information aggressors, especially the Russian Federation, are not “reinventing the wheel”. They use existing mechanisms. Journalists and the media, regardless of the provenance, are the first on the “information front” in the war over people’s hearts and minds. They have a choice: ignore or refute this fact or accept their role as a key element in state security and the information space.

The Russian aggression against Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 introduced a new type of warfare which has proved very effective in the digital era. This new type of war is no longer aimed at taking over territories or resources, but rather influencing human behaviour. It involves non-kinetic activities, which are undertaken in cyber space and are cheaper than traditional methods, but – most importantly – more effective when applied towards western societies which are largely unprepared for this kind of hostile actions.

January 27, 2020 - Adam Lelonek

Freedom and censorship in the post-truth era

A debate during the 34th Days of Contemporary Art in Białystok with Edwin Bendyk, Alex Freiheit, Father Wojciech Lemański, Tomasz Sikora, Joanna Wichowska and Serhiy Zhadan. Moderated by: Anna Łazar

January 27, 2020 - New Eastern Europe

Mostly annihilated…

Recently declassified sources of Soviet Military Archives give a better insight into the attempted escape of the German-Hungarian defenders of Budapest on February 11th 1945. Estimates have put the number of Germans who attempted to escape the siege at around 20,000-22,000. Most of them ended up being captured, wounded or killed.

The siege of Budapest of 1944-1945 and its tragic finale – the so-called “breaking-out” [of Buda] – is a very popular and well-researched topic of modern Hungarian history. Several books and articles have been published not only in Hungarian, but in many other languages as well. However, the research of this period was difficult until the very recent years – as the Russian Military Archives (more precisely the CAMO) did not allow anybody to research the classified materials. Because of that, research findings were quite asymmetrical, mostly based on German and Hungarian archive sources and reminiscences, but lacked the other half: the Soviet point of view.

January 27, 2020 - Krisztián Ungváry Márton Ványai

You can run, but can you hide?

A review of The Compatriots. The Brutal and Chaotic History of Russia's Exiles, Émigrés, and Agents Abroad. By: Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan. Publisher: Public Affairs, New York, 2019.

January 27, 2020 - Luke Harding

Devoted to the truth

a review of Mr Jones. A film directed by Agnieszka Holland, British-Polish-Ukrainian production, 2019.

January 27, 2020 - Paulina Siegień

Forbidden love in a patriarchal society

A review of And Then We Danced. A film written and directed by Levan Akin. Sweden, Georgia, 2019.

January 27, 2020 - Eva Modebadze

New dark times. A warning against the spread of Putinism

A review of Putin’s Totalitarian Democracy: Ideology, Myth, and Violence in the Twenty-First Century. By: Kate Langdon and Vladimir Tismaneanu. Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, Switzerland, 2019.

January 27, 2020 - Ostap Kushnir

Ukraine 101

A review of Ukraine in Histories and Stories: Essays by Ukrainian Intellectuals. Edited by Volodymyr Yermolenko. Publisher: Internews Ukraine / Ukraine World, Kyiv: 2019.

January 27, 2020 - Margarita Novikova

Discovering Paraska Horytsvit

A review "Overcoming Gravity", an exhibition of the artist Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit. Mystetskyi Arsenal, Kyiv, October 17th 2019-January 19th 2020.

January 27, 2020 - Mariia Kashchenko

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